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Fake Twitter account poses as McDaniel, posts anti-gay views

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published May 12, 2014 at 12:17 p.m.

this-screenshot-shows-a-fake-twitter-profile-that-somehow-used-the-same-username-as-attorney-general-dustin-mcdaniels-personal-account

This screenshot shows a fake Twitter profile that somehow used the same username as Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's personal account.

A Twitter account that appeared to use the same username as Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's personal account was posting anti-gay messages Monday before it was removed.

Aaron Sadler, a spokesman for McDaniel's office, said the account in question was not associated with McDaniel and his office was in touch with Twitter to "figure out what the issue is."

The fake account was appearing to use the username @Dustin_McDaniel, which is also used by the attorney general.

It was unclear how two accounts could both exist with the same username. A spokesman for Twitter said in an email that the company does "not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons."

The company does have a policy on impersonations that requires a fake account to "clearly states it is not affiliated with or connected to any similarly-named individuals." The fake McDaniel account not only shared his username but also indicated it was the account of the attorney general.

The fake account posted about 25 Twitter messages, known as tweets, in about an hour Monday. Most seemed to be in response to Arkansas court clerks issuing same-sex marriage certificates, a development that came after a circuit judge ruled Friday to overturn the state's ban on same-sex unions.

McDaniel has said he is in favor of same-sex marriage but that his office will still appeal the ruling.

Messages posted on the fake account Monday included suggestions that gay people not be allowed "equal rights and protection under the law" and that they should be "stoned."

By 12:10 p.m., the account appeared to have been deleted.

Sadler said it was too early to know if the person who created the account could face any criminal charges.

"It's obviously a big concern when somebody is trying to impersonate the attorney general," he said. "However, I believe these tweets as you read them are obviously not the personal viewpoints of attorney general Dustin McDaniel as he has said repeatedly. I would just hope everyone recognizes that."

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